Not a put-on: 300K Americans infected with Chagas disease from Latin American ‘kissing bug’

Not a put-on: 300K Americans infected with Chagas disease from Latin American ‘kissing bug’

[Ed. – This headline looks like one of those absurd come-on ads lurking on your webpage.  It’s not.  Don’t ignore it; it’s real.  This additional article, although from RT, is well sourced, referencing a study done at Baylor, and providing a map of the disease’s occurrence in the U.S.]

A deadly disease called Chagas has been estimated to have infected at least 300,000 people in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control. This infection is transferred by the “kissing bug” and is contracted when the bug bites its sleeping victims, takes their blood, and then deposits its feces where the unaware victim rubs it into the open wound.

The disease can remain in the victim’s blood for over 20 years before it manifests symptoms. The first stage of the disease has few symptoms, and they can seem like symptoms of other illnesses, with fever, fatigue, achiness, headaches, loss of appetite, vomiting, and diarrhea. Those symptoms can last for weeks or months, but the second stage can trigger an enlarged heart, heart failure, altered heart rate or rhythm, cardiac arrest, or enlarged esophagus or colon. …

The actual parasite causing the disease, Trypanosoma cruzi, is found in Mexico, Central America, and South America. Roughly eight million people have the disease; most are unaware they have it.

The CDC says that the bulk of victims in the U.S. have visited Latin America, and that’s where they picked up the bug. But Garcia said the parasite has arrived in the U.S. She said, “We are finding new evidence that locally acquired human transmission is occurring in Texas. We were surprised to find that 36 percent had evidence of being a locally acquired case. Additionally, 41 percent of this presumably healthy blood donor population had heart abnormalities consistent with Chagas cardiac disease.”

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